Shanghai: Quarterfinal presser transcript
A transcript from the presser Rafa gave after his quarterfinal win over Wawrinka is up on the Shanghai Masters site.
Q. Your reaction to the shocking news of the death of Maria De Villota to today.
RAFAEL NADAL: Very bad new for the world of sport in general, for the Spanish sport especially. Very difficult to say things on day like today, no? Stay positive. All the best for her family. Very difficult to find a word because is a very sad, sad day for all of us. That’s it, no?
I hope even if she didn’t suffered on that last moment hopefully, that’s only positive thing I think. The rest of the things are all very, very negative. Very, very sad.
I don’t follow car racing, but from what I’ve read it seems that Ms. De Villota was in an accident in July of last year and her death today might have something to do with that. All in all, sounds like an awful situation for her family.
Q. The first set, the tiebreak in particular, a very long one. Can you talk about how you were able to steal that set.
RAFAEL NADAL: Very tough, no? Match in general, first set especially, was very, very hard one. I think I played a great set. But court is fast. His serve was huge. He came to the court with that determination to hit every ball by taking the ball earlier, hit the ball very quick, go for the big shots in every moment. So was very difficult to stop him.
Positive thing, when he was playing well, I was playing well, too. I was able to resist. If I was not playing well, I going to lose that set. So I played a great set.
After that I was able to maintain the level. Breakpoints, first game of the second set, had that break. Very happy to be in semifinals in this tournament. Is a great new for me. Very happy. Is a very important tournament that always was tough for me to play well here. Last tournaments of the year. Semifinals on a Masters 1000, fast court, hard court, always have to be very positive new for me. So very happy.
I love the whole straight and easy line of logic: if I wasn’t playing well, I would have lost. I won, therefore I played well.
Q. Do you know in China people usually like to cheer for the unstrong one. In the tiebreak when you hear they cheer for Wawrinka, how do you adjust yourself mentally?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the people enjoyed the match. I don’t feel the people was more with him than with me. I think the people enjoyed the nice show I think in the end. Good tennis out there.
The people here in China every time knows more and more about tennis because of this tournament, Masters in the past, Beijing, all China tennis, men and women, have. So tennis becoming very popular.
I think they enjoyed the match. Was a positive thing that every year I see more people on the stadium. That’s great new for tennis in general and for the China.
We, the people, enjoyed.
Q. I know for the players, they have a whole set of weapons. What is your biggest weapon for tonight for you to win the match? Is it the same weapon you use in the past that you win a lot of matches?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I was able to move well tonight. The movements were great. I play with the right determination. Forehand worked well tonight. Lot of good forehands in important moments.
I finished another match without losing the serve. That’s the great new.
It’s a very great new!
Q. You mentioned you’re quite pleased to make the semifinals here because of the speed of the court. Does it continue to surprise you that you’ve been able to maintain the success on not just hard courts but especially fast hard courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: I like the fast courts, seriously. A lot of people always thought that because I had a lot of success on clay that I prefer to play in a slow court on hard. But that’s something that is not true.
If I am playing well, little bit faster helps me more because I was able to win more free points with my serve. Even if the opponents are doing, they are doing in the slower surfaces, too.
That power that remains on my serve, if I’m able to change the direction, the surface help me to have a better serve. Then I have quick movements on my legs. I am a fast player. So I can play very well on hard courts, and quick ones.
Surprise or not? Montréal didn’t surprise me. Always when you win a tournament like Montréal is a good surprise. But to know that I can play well on Montréal did not surprise me. Cincinnati, yes. But when you play the tournament eight times, my feeling was I never played a real good match there. So arrive there one year, win the tournament playing very high level, sure is a great surprise.
Here more than surfaces or conditions, you know, most of the times I arrived a little bit more tired mentally than other things. So important every victory for me at this part of the season because normally I was not playing very well. I feel happy to be through. Every match is very important.
It’s not the speed of the court that bothers him the most – it’s the bounce. He’s said it many times. And I love that he admits that Cincy was a surprise. I have to admit, I thought there was a chance he’d never win it.
Q. You spent a lot of time with the Chinese player Wu Di. Talk about him, some opinions about his potential.
RAFAEL NADAL: Very good technique, yeah. He’s a great player. Very good rhythm. Very talented. Always the same: if you are able to keep improving, he will have the chance to be in the top 100. He has a lot of positive things. He’s quick. He has a good control of the ball. He’s able to take the ball early. That’s something difficult on tennis. If he’s able to keep improving, I will see him sure in the top 100 on the tour.
But his backhand will always suffer against you. Always.
Q. Any advice?
RAFAEL NADAL: The only advice that I can say is the advice that everybody knows: practice every day with the right attitude, go on court every day with a goal on improving something, not go on court just practice for practice. Sometimes you lost that ambition to keep improving. Is something that really help me during my whole career. Every time I go on court, my motivation is try to be better player and try to improve the things I need to improve.
You will not feel that you are improving in one week, in one month, but if you are able to work on the things, after six months, one year, you will see the things you were working starts to give you good success.
This attitude? I’m so jealous of his ability to have it. It’s something I try to do and fail at miserably. I need instant success. I’m not good at the long term. The ability to work hard with a slow and steady mission requires such dedication.
Q. Your thoughts on playing Del Potro? You played him in Indian Wells.
RAFAEL NADAL: Conditions here are completely different than Indian Wells. Indian Wells, the conditions there are different. The ball flies and high bounces, very high bounces on the topspin. The conditions in Indian Wells, because of the results, are the more positive conditions for me to play. Court is not slow, is not quick, but at the same time the ball goes quick. Big bounces, that help me.
Here the bounces are much lower. Court is faster. I cannot expect a similar match than Indian Wells. Even the match was very hard there. The match will be less rallies, I think. The only way to play against him and have success is play my best tennis, play aggressive on this surface.
If I am not able to play inside the court, if I go behind the baseline, I don’t going to have chances. He has probably better serve than me. He can have better shots than me, sometimes flat shots than me. I think I am a little bit quicker than him. So I need to play inside, to put pressure on him, and try to be very solid with my serve because I know the opportunities on the return will not be very often. So we’ll see.
See? It’s about the bounce. (And yes, Rafa, you are a little bit quicker than Del Potro. Kind of like Del Potro is a little bit quicker than me.)
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